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Sterling may upgrade sewers to stop flooding

Work would be done on Freeport Road, between Lynn and LeFevre

STERLING – In an effort to stop some Sterling basements from flooding, the city may make about $410,000 in sewer upgrades.

The work was presented to the Sterling City Council by Matt Hansen, vice president of Dixon-based Willett, Hofmann & Associates, during Monday’s meeting.

During heavy rain, the aging sewer line and sanitary sewer along East 19th Street that serves the Sterling Towers apartment complex backs up into basements, Hansen said.

“We’re getting infiltration and flow into the system,” Hansen said. “It’s coming from sanitary sewer lines. It’s coming from sanitary sewer laterals, leaking manholes. There could be sump pump connection, downspout connections that are getting in there.

“They’re all contributing to wet weather flow, when you get those rain events, flow comes up in the sewer lines, it gets into the lift station and the system basically can’t handle it. And the relief point is eventually into people’s basements.”

The city’s examination of the issue stemmed from the complaint of a resident and known backup issues in Sterling Towers, the city said.

Hansen presented four options, all of which involve a combination of increasing sanitary sewer capacity and increasing pumping capacity at the lift station on Freeport Road between Lynn Boulevard and LeFevre Road that receives water from the sanitary sewer lines on East 19th and Freeport.

The option favored by city staff includes increasing the lift station’s pumping capacity by adding two pumps capable of pumping 600 gallons a minute. The lift station now has a single pump capable of pumping 600 gallons a minute.

That option also includes a new 14-inch main along Freeport Road to Lynn, then west on Lynn Boulevard connecting to an existing 14-inch main. Currently, the lift station pumps through an 8-inch main.

The plan also has a second phase, which doesn’t need to be done if the first phase solves the problem, Hansen said.

Phase two would be to disconnect a second lift station from the first, which would cost about $180,000 and bring the total cost of the plan to $590,000.

The city has cash on hand to cover the project, because it has been budgeting money in recent years for general waste water upgrades, City Manager Scott Shumard said.

The issue could come back to the City Council as an action item in the next few meetings, Mayor Skip Lee said.

Work could begin in April, after engineering designs and the bidding process, and finish in June, if the second phase isn’t done, Hansen said. Work on the second phase would continue into September.

Also Monday, the council voted to bring back a previous tabled item. On July 1, members voted to table an ordinance to vacate the Reins Street right of way because the property owner didn’t have a site plan.

The item will be brought before the City Council at its Sept. 3 meeting as an ordinance hearing.

To attend

The Sterling City Council next meets at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at the City Hall Annex, 20 W. Third St. in Library Plaza.

Go to or call City Hall at 815-632-6621 for an agenda or more information.

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